This sourdough loaf recipe is what started it all. It helped me find my sourdough footing and rhythm, which is why it makes two loaves. It has just four ingredients and has been a successful recipe for many, many beginner bakers. I hope you love it.

❤️ Why You’ll Love Sourdough Artisan Loaf

This recipe has turned into a successful first loaf for so many beginner bakers. It uses 4 ingredients, has a flexible time frame, and makes two loaves so you can have one in the fridge ready to bake whenever you want, after just one prep session.

🍲 Ingredients

Sourdough Starter – Fed, active bubbly sourdough starter that has been fed 4-8 hours prior to putting together bread. This is what will make your bread rise, and every great loaf of sourdough bread starts with a strong, healthy starter.

All-Purpose Flour – I love Kirkland’s organic, unbleached all-purpose flour for baking. Although organic isn’t always necessary, I do suggest ALWAYS using unbleached flour for sourdough baking.

Water – Room temperature, filtered water.

Salt – I like pink Himalayan salt but use whatever you have one hand!

👩‍🍳 How to Make Beginner Sourdough Loaves

  • In the evening: whisk together water and bubbly sourdough starter. Add flour and salt, mix until the flour is well incorporated. The dough will be sticky and shaggy. Let rest for 45 minutes – 1 hour. After resting, shape the dough into a fairly smooth ball by pulling the sides towards the middle until the dough begins to tighten. About 30 seconds.
  • Bulk rise: let your dough rest on the counter for 8-12 hours. During the bulk rise perform 1-4 stretch and folds anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour in between.
  • The next morning: Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 2 equal parts and shape into rounds. Flip over your dough and with floured hands pull toward you in circular motions to tighten its shape. Place seam-side up into your proofing basket and cover with a tea towel.
  • Let rest for 1 hour or place into your fridge for up to 3 days. Before baking, place your Dutch oven into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Once preheated, transfer loaf onto parchment paper, score, and place into the Dutch oven with the lid on. Bake for 23 minutes.
  • Remove the Dutch oven lid and bake for an additional 23 minutes.
  • Let rest for 1 hour before slicing and serving.

🪄 Tips and Tricks

  • Feed your starter at a 1:3:3 ratio – 1/3 cup starter + 1 cup flour + 1 cup water
  • Wet your hands when you do your stretch and folds to avoid the dough sticking to your hands.
  • Dampen your bowl cover when covering during bulk fermentation. This will keep the top of your dough from drying out.
  • Leave one of your unbaked sourdough loaves in the fridge for up to 4 days so you have a loaf ready for the week to bake for a friend, or need dinner in a pinch!

🗒 Variations

This is a great base recipe; add whatever inclusions you like! Which is one of my favorite parts about sourdough baking 🙂 Here are a few or our favorites –


🗒 Substitutions

This is a fantastic base recipe to use as a starting point for your sourdough journey. If you want to add a depth of flavor the easy way, substitute a portion of all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour. Instead of 1,000g of all-purpose flour, do 900g of AP flour + 100g of whole-wheat flour.

  • Country loaves


🗒 Best Served With

  • Soup
  • Sandwiches
  • Avocado Toast
  • Butter and Honey

👝 How to Store Leftovers

Store your leftover sourdough bread in a brown paper bag either on the counter or in a bread box. Fresh sourdough bread will stay fresh for only 2 or 3 days.

🤔 Common Questions

How long can bread dough stay in the fridge?

The longer the dough stays in the fridge the more sour it will be. Ideally it should stay in the fridge no more than 3 days or it will over proof.

How do I avoid burnt bottoms?

To avoid burnt bottoms on your loaf, preheat your Dutch oven on top of a baking stone in the oven. The baking stone prevents the bottom of the bread from getting burnt.

4.78 from 36 votes

Beginner Sourdough Loaf

Print Recipe
This artisan sourdough recipe makes two loaves and is perfect for beginners just learning sourdough. Made with the simplest ingredients, and an easy recipe to master.
Prep Time:2 hours
Cook Time:50 minutes
Total Time:12 hours

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 100 grams bubbly sourdough starter
  • 700 grams warm water
  • 1,000 grams all-purpose flour
  • 18 grams salt

Instructions

BAKERS SCHEDULE

  • In the morning, feed your starter with water and flour.
  • In the evening, prep your bread dough and perform stretch and folds. Let rest.
  • The next morning, shape your dough and bake, or place in fridge.

RECIPE

  • In the evening: whisk together water and bubbly sourdough starter. Add flour and salt, mix until the flour is well incorporated. The dough will be sticky and shaggy. Let rest for 45 minutes – 1 hour. After resting, shape the dough into a fairly smooth ball by pulling the sides towards the middle until the dough begins to tighten. About 30 seconds.
  • Bulk rise: let your dough rest on the counter for 8-12 hours. During the bulk rise perform 1-4 stretch and folds anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour in between.
  • The next morning: Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 2 equal parts and shape into rounds. Flip over your dough and with floured hands pull toward you in circular motions to tighten its shape. Place seam-side up into your proofing basket and cover with a tea towel.
  • Let rest for 1 hour or place into your fridge for up to 3 days. Before baking, place your Dutch oven into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Once preheated, transfer loaf onto parchment paper, score, and place into the Dutch oven with the lid on. Bake for 23 minutes.
  • Remove the Dutch oven lid and bake for an additional 23 minutes.
  • Let rest for 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Notes

I love this recipe because it makes two loaves, which I call the “work smarter, not harder” method to making sourdough. Prepping two loaves at one time means you have one in the fridge waiting for you during the week whenever you’re ready to bake for a friend or need dinner in a pinch! 

Nutrition

Serving: 16slices | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 437mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.2g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Artisan, Loaf, Sourdough
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 228kcal
Cost: $5

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Recipe Rating




47 Comments

    1. Hi! I’m so glad you love it, my soup book has the soup bowl recipe in it.. I’m working on a blog post further explaining. For right now, take this recipe and separate it into 300g mini loaves 😊

  1. 5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe. I’ve made it dozens of times over the last few months. If I want to use bread flour instead of AP flour, how does that convert?

  2. If you put the dough in the fridge, do you let it come to room temperature before baking? What is the proper process if you refrigerate the dough?

  3. I just received my starter! Now to invest in all the equipment. 🙂 What size Dutch oven do you use? And do you have favourite proofing baskets?

    Thank you! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    This turned out great using 900g AP and 100g of whole wheat (like you recommended) but today I didn’t have enough AP for that so I used 700g of whole wheat and 300g of AP and it seemed to get too crispy. Does whole wheat change the baking time significantly?

  5. 5 stars
    LOVE this recipe and have it memorized already. I typically half the recipe and truly have learned so much from you!! Taking the pressure of perfection off has made me realize that making bread is cheap therapy lol!

    I live in Florida so I have found that using about 20g less of water really helps my loaves.

  6. 5 stars
    Very easy to follow ! Just wondering after I left my dough to rest overnight in the morning it was still a bit sticky do you know why ?

  7. 5 stars
    I am so very grateful that I found you! Through this recipe I finally understand how to make sourdough bread. The schedule and leaving the dough out has been a game changer. I’m looking forward to trying your discard recipes. Thank you so much!

  8. I’m worried I won’t get enough stretch and folds during the bulk fermentation process, if the plan is to leave it out over night. Does it matter if you it do sooner rather than later? Or vice versa, finish stretch and folds in the morning, rest for an hour, and then bake!
    I’m looking forward to trying to this recipe!

  9. I used this recipe for my first try and it came out perfect! Is there a variation for baking in a loaf pan instead of Dutch oven?

    1. I use a black oval roasting pan to cook my sourdough. I have one Dutch oven and I wanna cook both loaves..turns out great!

  10. If I don’t have proofing baskets can I let this just free proof in my Dutch oven? Also during that first rest period of 45 minutes-1 hour do you cover the bowl?

  11. Hi there! LOVED your olive and garlic loaf, and trying this one now. Why does the garlic loaf use 200g of starter (for two loaves) and this one only uses 100g (for two loaves). Also, why would you feed 1/3 cup of starter with 1 cup water and 1 cup flour if you only need 100g of active starter for the recipe? Thank you.

  12. I love that you have the nutrition information but for this recipe it seems a little off. Is there any way to update this? It’s one of the reasons your recipes are my go to!

    1. The nutrition information is automatically calculated when I enter the recipe. Because this recipe is for 2 loaves I’m thinking the nutrition info is doubled.

  13. Made the recipe but the dough is very sticky. Collapsed when I turned it out to shape. Help not sure what I did wrong. The dough was gorgeous in the bin bubbly and glossy. I turned it out to shape and it went flat and I was very sticky.

  14. Thanks for an easy to follow recipe with time! This is so manageable.
    I’ve heard about lamination – should I be doing this or is it unnecessary?

  15. 4 stars
    I noticed something in the “common questions.”
    The question is: “How long can the Bread stay in the refrigerator?”

    The answer given is, ” The longer you keep the Bread in the refrigerator the more sour it will become. ”

    But baked Bread does not become more sour just because it’s in the refrigerator… Dough, on the other hand, absolutely will. 😊
    (Looks like a great recipe to try so… I’m starting my SD starter tomorrow! Can’t wait to try it… but I’m guessing it’ll be about 2 weeks) 😊

  16. Hi – I’m in Florida and wondering how leaving dough on the counter will be. Our house is higher temp and humidity. I’ve had an issue with overproofed dough. Any tips? Mine usually doubles within 6 hours on the counter.

    1. My suggestion is to mix your dough with colder water to keep the dough temperature down and that gives it a little more wiggle room for an over nnight fermentation 🙂

  17. 5 stars
    Hello! I love this recipe so much and make it weekly! I have a question: I regularly put my loafs into the fridge for the 1-3 days until I’m ready to bake. But they are in my banneton proofing basket with the linen cover. They get so stuck in there and get a hard top (on the raw dough) after being in the fridge! When you put your loaves into the fridge, what type of bowl do you use? Is the basket not best? They always bake fine, but the shape gets a bit messed up because I have to peel it out of the banneton when I bake a day or two later.
    Thank you!

    1. Sprinkle a little flour in the bottom of the banneton and cover with plastic wrap. Thats what I do when I put it in the fridge. I hope this helps.

  18. 5 stars
    The first loaf I’ve made with consistently excellent results. So easy and good, whether I do several stretch and folds or only one.

  19. 5 stars
    Perfect loaf of bread! This is my base recipe I use every time I bake- whether I leave it plain or tinker with inclusions. I do however switch it up and assemble the dough in the morning and bulk during the day, just so I can keep an eye on it. But that’s just my own personal preference.